Contrary to the expectations of modernization and secularization theories, religion is a resilient and resurgent influence in contemporary politics and governance, both locally and internationally. This course explores the intricate and interdependent relationships between religion and politics across the globe. Readings, lectures, discussions and assignments will examine basic theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the link between religion and politics; political-ideological variations and contestations between and within the major religious traditions; and intersections between religion and such critical global and/or local political issues as violent extremism and terrorism, democracy and development, human rights and civil liberties, nationalism and multiculturalism, and social movements and party politics. Finally, the course will focus on specific country case studies of religion’s political roles, including Nigeria’s Boko Haram debacle, the Arab Spring turned fundamentalist winter in Egypt, and the religion-politics nexus in the American context.
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